How did September 2022 compare to other Septembers in Great Falls?
We closed out the month on Friday with a new record - the wettest September 30th ever recorded, with Great Falls International Airport receiving 1.34" of rain. It was also the wettest day in Great Falls since June 29, 2020.
For the month overall:
September 2022 temperatures: 11th hottest September on record; 90°+ recorded seven times (tied record with 2009, 1969).
September 2022 precipitation: Wettest month since May 2021; nearly nine times more precipitation than September 2021.
September 30th also marked the end of the water year, which has had its ups and downs in Montana. It began with record-breaking dry conditions, especially along the Hi-Line, where most locations saw little to no precipitation for weeks on end.
There were several Pacific weather systems that brought heavier snowfall to higher elevations of Western Montana, but the plains continued to receive subpar precipitation during the 2021-2022 winter season. The tail end of winter and the spring season brought closer to average precipitation and above normal snowpack well into spring. Eastern Montana received several major snowstorms throughout spring, while north central Montana received 60-90% of 30-year average annual precipitation.
Here are the precipitation totals, as of 5PM on the last day of the water year (September 30th, 2022):
- Great Falls: 12.13 inches, 2.46 inches below the 30-year average
- Helena: 9.15 inches, 2.04 inches below the 30-year average
- Lewistown: 14.86 inches, 1.96 inches below the 30-year average
- Glasgow: 8.78 inches, 4.45 inches below the 30-year average
- Havre: 8.78 inches, 2.66 inches below the 30-year average
- Cut Bank: 9.49 inches, 0.82 inches below the 30-year average
It is no question that north central Montana is closing out this water year in a much better position than the last one. Around two-thirds of the state was experiencing extreme drought this time last year. As of Thursday’s drought update, just over 12% of the state is experiencing extreme drought. The drought has expanded into eastern portions of the Hi-Line from Havre to Glasgow.